Thirty seven members of the House of Representatives elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, have defected to the All Progressives Congress, APC, giving the opposition party a slight majority in the lower house.
With this development, the APC now controls the House with a majority of 172 members while the PDP has 171. However to change the structure of the House leadership, the APC needs 181 members on its side. There are 360 members in the House.
The defection, which was announced by the Speaker, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, was initially made known in a letter written and signed by the 37 members dated December, 18, 2013, entitled: “Communication of change of political party” and addressed to the Speaker.
In the letter, the lawmakers explained that their action was as a result of the crisis in the PDP and in line with the provision of Section 68 (1) (g) of the 1999 Constitution.
Tambuwal took a roll call of the defecting members who were welcomed by the APC leaders.
The 37 lawmakers are from Kano (11), Sokoto (10), Rivers (8), Kwara (6) and one each from Bauchi and Katsina states.
It means all the 24 lawmakers from Kano, 10 out of 11 from Sokoto (except Speaker Tambuwal), eight out of 13 from Rivers, all the six from Kwara, five out of 12 from Bauchi and 13 out of 15 from Katsina now belong to the APC.
Those who crossed the carpet from Kano are: Nasiru Sule Garo, Ahmad Zarewa, Aliyu Sani Madaki, Bashir Babale, Alhassan Ado Dogon, Munir Dangyadi, Aminu Suleiman, Abdulmumin Jibril, Musa Ado, Mustapha Bala and Muhtari M.C.
Those from Sokoto are: Kabiru Marafa Achida, Aminu Shehu Shagari, Isa Salihu Bashir, Abdullahi Mohammed Wamakko, Saalu Mohammed Nabunkari, Aliyu Shehu, Shuaibu Gwandu Gobir, Musa Sarkin Adar, Abdullahi Balarabe Salame and Umar Bature.
Andrew Uchendu, Asita Honourable, Sokonte Davies, Dakuku Peterside, Mpigi Barinada, Pronen Maurice, Dawari George and Ogbonna Nwuke are the defectors from Rivers State, while Kwara State has Ali Ahmad, Zakari Mohammed, Ahman Pategi, Rafiu Ibrahim, Mustapha Mashood and Aiyedokun Akeem.
Two lawmakers from Katsina, Nasiru Sani and Zagon Daura also defected as well as Yakubu Dogara from Bauchi State.
The letter reads: “We, the underlisted members of the House of Representatives elected under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, wish to inform you that we have joined the All Progressives Congress, APC.
“This action is as a result of the division/faction in the political party that sponsored our election into the House of Representatives.
“Furthermore, we write to inform you that following this division, the faction of the PDP, which we belong to has formally merged with the All Progressives Congress, APC.
“This communication is made pursuant to Section 68 (1) (g) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, for your information, guidance and records please.”
With the defection, Tambuwal, his deputy, Emeka Ihedioha, House Leader, Mulikat Akande-Adeola, Chief Whip, Mohammed Bawa, Deputy Leader, Leo Ogor and Deputy Whip, Ahmed Muktar, may lose their seats if they remain in PDP.
However, a chieftain of the PDP warned yesterday that the defectors should be ready to face the consequences of their actions.
The chieftain who craved anonymity said that the constitution was very clear on what would befall the defectors even as he labelled their action as treacherous and betrayal of millions of voters who entrusted their votes on them.
“The defection, if confirmed to be true is treacherous and a huge betrayal not only of the PDP but millions of voters who worked timelessly hard for their election on the platform of the PDP in their respective constituencies.
“As lawmakers, the defectors must no doubt be aware of provisions of Section 68 (1) (g) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) which clearly states the conditions upon which a member of the legislature will change platforms.